PARK HILLS, Mo. - Mineral Area was able to handle Three Rivers' press and peace for three quarters, but seemed to have little left in the fourth.
Three Rivers, ranked 15th in the nation, used its 2-2-1 press to wear the Cardinals down and then raced away in the final 10 minutes for a 61-45 win Wednesday in Park Hills.
"The style we play, we have a tendency to do that to some teams down the stretch," Three Rivers coach Alex Wiggs said. "I think the up-tempo pace was a huge factor in that fourth quarter."
The Raiders (7-0, 3-0 Region XVI) led by a point entering the fourth quarter, then outscored the Cardinals 19-4 in the fourth quarter. One of those buckets by Mineral Area was the game's final field goal after Three Rivers had locked up the win with a 17-2 flurry.
After some back and forth action to open the fourth quarter, Autumn Dodd scored and followed that with a baseline drive and kick-out pass to Myia Yelder for a 3 to put Three Rivers ahead by eight with 6 minutes left, and Mineral Area called a timeout.
Dodd, who led the team with 17 points, soon made a 3 to put the Raiders ahead by 11, and with 90 seconds left in the game, Joi Montgomery delivered the dagger with another 3 that put the Raiders ahead by 16 as Three Rivers.
Dodd had another strong start in as many games. The Neelyville alumna had 12 of Three Rivers' 30 points in the first half as Three Rivers shot 30.3% as a team. She was the only player for either team to be in double figures at halftime and had three times as many points as any other Raider.
"Autumn is starting to read the defense really, really well. Coming into the game, it allows her to be aggressive and see what the defense is doing," Wiggs said.
Against State Fair on Monday, Dodd scored 10 of Three Rivers' first 12 points and got an assist on the basket she didn't score. She finished with 15 points on 6 for 11 shooting.
Dodd was held scoreless on five shots in Three Rivers' 57-54 win at Moberly Area on Saturday but has scored 15 points or more in four of her past five games. She entered Wednesday's game averaging 11.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.
Yelder had 13 points for the Raiders, and Jamiyah Thomas got 12 points and nine rebounds.
Mineral Area (4-6, 2-2) shot 25% in the second half and 23.1% overall. The Cardinals were 3 for 29 on 3-pointers in the game.
Three Rivers was plus-18 on points off turnovers after it got eight more steals and committed eight fewer turnovers.
While Mineral Area had 10 more offensive rebounds, it got five more second-chance points.
Quincy Erickson led the Cardinals with 16 points, and Mariah Stewart had 10 rebounds.
"The past three games, defensively, we've done a really good job of locking in and contesting shots, and just not giving up easy baskets," Wiggs said. "We're making the other team earn their points. It says a lot about our girls' activity and movement on the defensive end."
Scott Borkgren - Daily American Republic